LINO Restaurant and Café in Forum satisfies Singapore’s love for most things Italian, offering simple contemporary twists to classic favourites.
Les Amis Group is best known for its premium establishments – headed its multiple award-winning French fine-dining flagship Les Amis – but the F&B group has been steadily expanding its casual concepts as well. For example there’s its casual Italian dining concept LINO, first opened in 2018 at Binjai Park offering a range of contemporary yet comforting Italian favourites. This was followed by LINO Pizza & Pasta Bar, at Shaw Centre. Les Amis Group recently extended that with LINO Restaurant and Café at Forum The Shopping Mall, right in its Orchard Road stronghold.
The new LINO Restaurant outlet largely follows the tried-and-true approach of its Binjai Park predecessor in terms of its repertoire. For those who like grazing or sharing, the antipasti will please. You can go with the more common Burrata (which comes with momotaro tomatoes and arugula as one might expect) but a more interesting choice is the Smoked Scamorza. Here, the chewy cow’s milk cheese is chargrilled and served with prosciutto, making it a lovely light repast if one has a daintier appetite.
Along the same lines is the Smoked Salmon Trout, but the alluring smokiness of the cured fish is cut with fresh herbs and a tangy yuzu dressing.
Most of its pasta offerings maintain a core of authenticity, such as the Spinach Ricotta Ravioli, Vongole Linguini, or Trofie Al Pesto. But if you’re a proud traditionalist you may want to stay far away from the Carbonara Chittara. Tasty as the dish is with its truffle cream and sous vide egg, it’s far from an authentic Roman carbonara and steers stylistically towards modern mass appeal.
For mains, the Pollo Al Mattone really impressed. The roast chicken – inspired by a specific Italian cooking technique that squashes the chicken under a brick while in the oven – is exemplary. The butterflied chicken is evenly cooked throughout, and well brined and seasoned to enhance the flavour of the poultry.
We heard the pizza here was good, but didn’t try.
Where the Forum outlet of LINO Restaurant differs from the Binjai Park one is its themed cocktail menu. The 12 cocktail creations are each inspired by different phases of a plant’s life cycle. It’s cute, really.
The Herbsy Hi-Ball is light and refreshing, the whisky highball the perfect carrier for spicy Japanese shiso. Then there’s the Perky Negroni, which employs gin that’s been infused with coffee beans and plum for the perfect perk-me-up aperitivo after a hard day at work. The cognac-based Bittersweet Affair is more floral with lavender, while the 3 Staple Sour – a twist on the New York Sour – is absolutely delicious, albeit with the curious addition of olive oil as garnish.
Lino Restaurant & Cafe at Forum The Shopping Mall is exactly the kind of casual dining establishment you’d expect in that part of Orchard Road, attracting especially young couples or families with children in tow. What does set it apart? Its cocktail menu. Which, we suspect, may just be what some frazzled parents need to calm their nerves after a tiring day of babysitting their rowdy offspring.
LINO (Forum The Shopping Mall)
Address 583 Orchard Rd, #01-01/04 The Forum Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10pm on Mondays to Fridays; 11.30am to 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Tel (65) 6235 8690